Police release names of 'johns' in prostitution caseJudge witholds addresses and ages to protect privacy
Kennebunk — The Kennebunk Police Department Oct. 15 released the names of 21 suspected prostitution clients in the highly-publicized case involving a Wells Zumba instructor and a Thomaston insurance company owner.
The Kennebunk police have been directed to release only the names of certain persons issued summonses, and to withhold addresses as some may also be alleged victims of criminal invasion of privacy, according to statement from police.
Because the list does not include suspects' ages and addresses, no other information about the list is available without their identities. The suspects are the so-called "johns" in the case that has a longer list of about 150 clients.
The editorial management of Courier Publications has decided not to list the names without any other identifying information. To do so could create confusion, such as innocent persons with the same or similar name of a suspect.
In the case, Alexis Wright, 29, has been charged with running a prostitution ring out of a dance studio in Kennebunk and her nearby one-room office at 1 High St. She engaged in prostitution and secretly taped the incidents, according to a police affidavit.
Police said that searches of her home and office showed records, including recorded sex acts and bank statements, indicating that her business generated more than $150,000 during a period of a year and a half.
Two weeks ago, the York County grand jury charged her with 106 counts of sex crimes, misdemeanors, and three tax-evasion felony crimes.
Mark Strong Sr., 57, of Thomaston has also been charged. The grand jury indicted him on 59 counts of violation of privacy, promotion of prostitution, and conspiracy.
Strong and Wright appeared in Cumberland County Superior Court last week and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Between Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, the Kennebunk police charged the suspects with engaging in prostitution, based on an ongoing investigation that lasted 18 months.
All individuals charged are due to appear in Biddeford District Court on Dec. 5 at 1 p.m.
The Cumberland County Superior Court had issued a ruling regarding a filed Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) motion to prevent disclosure of the names and addresses of certain persons who had been named in summonses issued by the Kennebunk Police Department and/or York County District Attorney's Office as the result of an ongoing investigation being conducted.
Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren agreed that the summonses will result in filing of criminal complaints, and the names of defendants who have been accused of the crimes is — and has always been — public information, according to his response to the complaint filed by one of the "johns."
Nevertheless, many of the sexual encounters in question were allegedly filmed, Warren wrote, with persons who may include the plaintiffs.
"If the persons charged with engaging a prostitute are also persons who are alleged victims of the criminal charges of invasion of privacy, then their addresses should be confidential," he wrote.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or by email at email@example.com.